My new podcast: ZDNet’s “Patch Monday”

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Be afraid. Be very afraid. I have taken over ZDNet Australia‘s podcast Patch Monday.

In this week’s episode, Cyberwar. What is Australia’s place in the world of digital warfare? What are the implications for the NBN? Tom Worthington, a computer scientist who’s been watching how Australia’s defence forces use IT, helps separate the myth from reality.

We also look at the Australia Council’s innovative “Geek in Residence” program, helping bring arts organisations into the 21st Century. Applications close 9 December.

You can listen to my first episode, which is Patch Monday episode 20, below. But it’s even better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Please, let me know what you think. Feedback very, very welcome. And do let me know if there’s any topics I should cover, or guests we should interview.

And yes, I know it’s Friday, not Monday. Shoosh. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009:

See what happens when you don’t curate your links for ten days, during which time there’s a conference which generates a bazillion things to link to? Sigh.

This is such a huge batch of links that I’ll start them over the fold. They’re not all about Media140 Sydney, trust me.

Continue reading “Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009”

Are clueless politicians holding back IT?

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Politicians are notoriously clueless when it comes to technology. Indeed, a Parliament House staffer once told me that it’s impossible to overstate their level of ignorance. But isn’t it time they caught up with the rest of us?

Last year I wrote about this in the business context, “I don’t understand computers” is not an excuse.

If you own or manage a business that handles information (and which business doesn’t?) then you must understand computers and the Internet. If you don’t, you’re incompetent. Yes, that’s right, you heard me. Incompetent…

In short, you don’t need to know the technology itself, but you do need to know its implications for your business.

Australia’s had a Goods and Services Tax since 2000. If you waved your hand and said, “Oh, I don’t understand GST,” your shareholders would have every right to sack you for incompetence.

Yesterday I wrote about this in the political context for ZDNet.com.au, Are clueless politicians holding IT back?, and as in my business-focussed piece I suggested a checklist for what I reckon they should know.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Or am I right in using the word “incompetent” here?

Links for 22 October 2009 through 27 October 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 22 October 2009 through 27 October 2009, published after far too long a break. I really, really do need to work out a better way of doing this…

Conroy’s political choices on Internet censorship

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A report from the Australian Computer Society’s Filtering and E-Security Task Force, the drab-named but quite readable Technical Observations on ISP Based Filtering of the Internet, is going to be a handy weapon in Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy’s battle over internet censorship.

Well, so I reckon.

In a backgrounder for ZDNet today, ACS filter report just what Conroy needs, I run through a quick history of Labor’s mandatory Internet filtering policy, and show how Conroy can use the report to kill the project or kill the criticism — depending on what he needs at the time politically.

Should court hearings be streamed live?

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I don’t know whether it’s the first time an Australian legal trial has been covered live via Twitter, but the Twitter coverage of the AFACT v iiNet hearing in the Federal Court is breathing new life into court reporting. So, why don’t we just stream everything live to the Internet, audio and video?

That’s the question I ask in my first opinion piece for ZDNet Australia, Twitter in court: Why not streaming video?, which was posted on Friday afternoon after I’d spent half the week watching ZDNet.com.au‘s Liam Tung and The Australian‘s Andrew Colley bring us their observations as the case unfolded.

As it happens, the ban on live broadcast coverage from courtrooms dates back to the 1930s. Although there have been experiments with TV coverage, it’s still rare. But apart from the obvious cases where you’d want to keep it banned, why shouldn’t we allow it? That’s what I explore over at ZDNet.com.au. Have a read and let me know what you think.

If you want to follow the hearing, which is expected to last until mid-November, monitor the Twitter hashtag #iitrial.